Thursday, May 28, 2009

Name That Tune! We Want To Know Your Favorite Tunes of All-Time

There's nothing like "old-school" music to help me make it through the work day. While I'm calendaring dates or typing away on my computer, I slip on the old headphones and jam to one of my all-time favorite beats.

On the way to work this morning, I heard Michael Jackson's "Thriller" on KBLX. Now, I don't want to "date myself," but I believe I used to drive to work to this tune - well, let's just say - Michael and I are in the same "genre." Yesterday, I heard another oldie, but goodie, "Superman Lover" by Johnny Guitar Watson.

Please submit your favorites. . .we'd love to know :)

I'll start it off with:

1. "Sailing" by Christopher Cross

2. "Love Will Follow" by Kenny Loggins and Shanece

3. "Always and Forever" by Heat Wave

4. "Pleasure Principle" by Janet Jackson and. . .

5. "Miss Otis Regrets" (the Bette Midler version) - check it out!!

Friday, May 22, 2009


It's Friday AND "What Would You Do To Brad Pitt?"

Ann Curry's interview from Cannes with Brad Pitt aired on "The Today Show" this past Wednesday.

I mean, Brad is hot - really hot. . .but, do you think Ann crossed the "line of professionalism" when she playfully puts her hand on Brad's chin about 2/3 of the way into the interview. . .she should have done the interview in Vegas, because as you know, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

You be the judge:

Have a wonderful LONG weekend!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Get Half-Off Spa Treatments via

Thanks to Tehnyia for the heads-up on this one!

TGIF! Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Better Way To "Brown Bag"

Secrets of a Brown Bagger
By Jessica Yadegaran
Contra Costa Times

(Reprinted with Permission)

I THINK my co-workers have lunch envy. Not long ago, I was sitting on a bench with my Tupperware of turmeric-tinged Israeli couscous and mâche salad when a gaggle of ladies stopped on their way to the new barbecue joint down the street.

"Wow, look at you," one remarked, eyes popping as she admired the kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes and basil strips. "Why don't I do that?"

Why don't you, I wondered, as I forked another bunch of mâche, avo and cranberries. On a daily basis, I hear colleagues complain about money — then drop $10 on an average and unhealthy lunch loaded with fat and starch. Enough. It's time to unleash my brown-bagged secrets. You can enjoy lively, nutritious midday meals that take as little as 10 minutes to prepare. Do a little legwork the night before and revel in a lunch worthy of the fanciest cafe menus.

Also, never underestimate your leftovers. What's the best meal a professional chef can ask for? The wholesome, simple sandwich he makes from the night's scraps. That's how Tom Colicchio's 'witchcraft, the gourmet sandwich chain, came about. In their eponymous book, "'Wichcraft: Craft a Sandwich into a Meal — and a Meal into a Sandwich," ($27.50, HarperCollins), Colicchio and chef-partner Sisha Ortuzar teach readers how to transform leftovers into delicious sandwiches.

Assuming you've prepared a protein-based meal for dinner, you can turn it into a sandwich 75 percent of the time, Ortuzar tells me. And it doesn't have to taste like it did the night before. Take his Flat Iron Steak sandwich. He gives it a kick with Cucumber and Ginger Salad and a dash of Black Chile Mayonnaise.

"It's all in the choice of ingredients and bread," Ortuzar says. He's a fan of herbs and homemade or store-bought condiments that provide pizazz to leftover roast chicken (ideal for chicken salad sandwiches), meatloaf or pork. Mustards, capers, roasted peppers and preserved lemons add the gourmet factor that you can't get from a ham and swiss.

Sandwich from scraps

Leftover poached salmon? Fork it apart and add yogurt or mustard and dill or tarragon for an impressive salad to spread on hefty wheat bread. Remember, two ounces of meat will go a long way between two slices of bread, Ortuzar says, so there's no need to stack high.

If you're stressed about sogginess, he has a rather architectural solution for that.

"If the sandwich is going to sit around for a while, go with something crusty, like ciabatta or a baguette, to keep it from leaking," he says. Sandwiches made with those breads benefit from time because they absorb the juices and flavors without getting soggy, he says.

If you want to use something lighter, like sliced white bread, you can insulate your sandwich by putting a slice of cheese or bib of lettuce in the right place. "Put those things next to your bread," he says. "They act as a barrier."

If there are no leftovers to speak of, you can still make a star sandwich that's affordable by visiting the butcher, Ortuzar says. Go for low-cost cuts such as flank steak or less visually pleasing parts, like tails of fish. "They're just as tasty and cheaper because they're scraps," he says.

Also, Ortuzar cautions us not to pass up the prepared section of the deli. Buying a small roast can be a flavorful and healthful alternative to packaged cold cuts, which Ortuzar frowns upon. "They're pumped full of water," he says.

Still, he's pro-canned tuna, and swears by American Tuna, a San Diego-based group of family fishermen that use the sustainable pole-and-troll fishing method for catching smaller, mercury-safe albacore. I found some at Whole Foods and used it to make my own tuna salad. I add olive oil, capers, chopped artichoke hearts from the can and fresh diced tomatoes with plenty of fresh squeezed lemon. I spread lots of jarred olive tapenade on a rosemary ciabatta I get at Trader Joe's for a sandwich that has earned me longing stares in the cafeteria.

Lunch fixings

I've been making my lunch for 10 years, and, out of all the grocery stores I've lived near (Safeway, Andronico's Lunardi's, Whole Foods), I've found Trader Joe's to be the most bagged-lunch-friendly of the bunch. Making my aforementioned mâche salad is a cinch in the morning because all I do is unzip conveniently bagged ingredients — mâche, cranberries, crumbled cheese, grilled chicken strips — and toss them in a Tupperware. Because I'm lucky enough to find avocado year-round, I take two minutes to slice that into the salad. It makes me happy.

As for that Israeli couscous, I make the whole box ($1.99 at TJ's) for dinner and toss it in an enormous wooden bowl with whatever I have in the pantry and fridge: Paprika, turmeric or cumin, fresh herbs, chopped and sauteed vegetables, roasted red peppers. I'm sure to add a protein, be it smoked tofu, chicken, or turkey sausage, to give me brain power for the second half of the day.

The dish serves two for dinner and leaves me enough for two to three lunches, depending on what else I toss in the brown bag. I'm a fan of small apples and a few squares of dark chocolate. But whatever I pop in a bag for lunch, I take pride in putting something good into my body in the middle of the day. It's easier to hit a fast food joint, but the time investment is well worth the joy of looking forward to my midday meal. The lunch envy is kind of fun, too.

Reach Jessica Yadegaran at 925-943-8155 or

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Obsessed" Starring Beyonce Knowles

You'll never look at "temps" the same way again.

Okay, I give this 3 out of 5 stars. . .but I still want to see it a second time! Even though Beyonce is not the greatest actor/actress of all time, she is still drop dead gorgeous. And Idris Elba is not only "easy on the eyes," but he's a great actor.

Ali Larter gives a great performance as "The Temp."

And the LA fashion and scenery (including the Escalade Hybrid) make it enjoyable and trendy.

Harmless fun! Check it out.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Starbucks Unveils Its New Ad Campaign

And I must admit, it's pretty darn good. Almost as good as the Greek Yogurt Parfait ;)

Friday, May 1, 2009

My Newest Obsession - Starbucks Greek Yogurt & Honey Parfait!

Just when I had trained myself not to automatically turn into Starbucks every morning (I've been drinking what they have at the office), a little birdie tells me about Starbucks Greek Yogurt & Honey Parfait.

Could this stuff taste any better?? It's got Greek Yogurt (reduced-fat, of course), coconut-almond macaroon granola (whoever thought of this is a genius), pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries.

At 3.45 a pop, I don't think I'll be having one every day, but I'm certainly going to "treat" myself at least once a week.

Check it out for yourself!